Let's just be frank and straight forward. For those of you that think Business Planning is a process of listing out your goals and showing them to your manager I will give you a one-word summation "BROKE" ... which is probably what you will be if that is your plan. In a down market your business plan is the tool that you should be using to take corrective action and cut expenses where possible.
How? Simple, with your Business Plan and your dedicated use of your plan you should see which Activities you are doing that generates you the most number of Appointments and Transactions. All the marketing that you are tracking that is not performing should be eliminated. All those websites that you used in the boom to draw buyers ... if they are not working get rid of them or reduce your cost with them, still sending Just Listed or Just Sold Cards ... if they are not performing than get rid of them.
There is no panacea in real estate. What works for one agent may not work for another agent for a variety of reasons; Size of Sphere, Time in Business, Use of Automation, Upkeep with Past Clients, etc. What does work for any agent is treating this business like a real actual business. You should know where every dollar is being spent and what that money returns for you. If you send out 300 cards per listing for each of your listings and you do 12 listings in a year that is 3,600 cards or approximately $3,600. Does not sound like much, but to the average agent it is a good chunk of money.
The problem stems from the inability of agents to let go of past habits. "Well it worked back then!" There is an old saying in the stock brokerage business ... "Don't Confuse Brain with a Bull Market" ... meaning that sometimes and in some markets all you have to do is be breathing and you will get business. So many agents that were breathing got business and thought they were great business people ... then reality sets in and because these individuals had no business plan or sense of what worked and what didn't they kept doing what they have always done and assumed that it would generate business like the past. May I remind all readers what the first three letters of assume spell.
So get out of the past and stop assuming that what worked then will work again. Get a business plan put together and stay on top of it.